When we feel the darkness press in we can trust ourselves to find the light.
“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” Aristotle Onassis
Anyone can be happy, positive and grateful when everything is going well. But when nothing is going well, that is when we truly need to focus, to see the light. That is when we truly need to go deeper into gratitude and focus on the good in our lives.
Everyone has been in the position of feeling themselves engulfed by darkness. The truth is that hope remains. We need to remember how to see it. We can see it more clearly and focus on it when the dark threatens to swallow us up. The light that shines in the darkness is always there, waiting for us. It can be hard to recognize, to reach, and to keep.
First: The Darkness
“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” Madeline L’Engle
It’s not just when the lights go out. It can be when we sit by a hospital bed – or are lying in a hospital ourselves. It can be when we stand by a grave. Perhaps when our finances go badly, or a relative brings trouble on the rest of the family. Sometimes it is world events that appear so huge and relentless that relief seems to be nothing more than a wisp of a lost hope. Studies show that suicide rates have increased. Mental health professionals are seeing more patients. People feel the darkness. But hope and light await us!
Second: The Light
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” Desmond Tutu
They say there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. This is a close cousin to the quote above. That light may appear very small and very far away- or we may have been deceived by the darkness. With darkness all around us in our moment of trouble, it may only make the light appear small or distant. That light might be very near us! And in many of life’s challenges, that light is often just about to break in upon us and banish the dark, if we can only hold out. Yet another saying states that it is often darkest before the dawn. In the night of our troubles that last hour before the sun returns often seems to be the weariest, most forlorn, and most sorrowful. Hang on! You can do this! In fact, you may have the light within yourself.
Third: The Focus
We are creatures blessed with mental faculties that can solve problems big and little. We just seem to forget that and settle for the darkness, believing that we can’t do anything about it. But we have the ability to focus our energy and build a light that will show the way. And honestly, the light within us? It shines out where everyone else can see it as well.
How do we find the light in the dark? It varies. We may need to do some self-care so we’re taking good care of our minds and bodies. That includes restful sleep, any amount of exercise, and healthy foods that power our bodies and brains. It means connecting with others. It means giving yourself a good talking to and telling yourself “Hold on!” and “You got this!” It means changing some behavior or other in your life. Remember that little steps taken in the beginning become large, confident strides with experience.
Which Aristotle Said That?
In the further interest of light, that is, truth, many people mistake this quote as having come from the Aristotle of ancient times. It is more regularly attributed to the business magnate of the 20th Century Aristotle Onassis, who married Jacqueline Kennedy. He is also reported to have said: “We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds.” He applied this to his shipping business and to life. It seems to fit in with our first quote, don’t you think? Once we free ourselves from misleading expectations about life (a kind of self-imposed darkness), we are then capable of grasping what really stands before us (the waiting light). Our success rate will no doubt improve when we face what is truly out there and go forth courageously to “sail in high winds”.